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O-Zone: Moving forward

JACKSONVILLE – Look-Ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it … Les from Jacksonville:
How is Jalen Ramsey starting and Myles Jack isn't? Jalen also is playing two positions, but he's ready to start and Myles isn't? C'mon man, it has to be a better explanation than that. Jack can play almost any position on the defense, but he's on the SPECIAL TEAMS UNIT. Honestly, I think he should play strong safety because that's our weakness. He can't be any worse than Johnathan Cyprien. O, man can you please ask Gus Bradley? What's the deal, cuzzzz?
John: Wow, you are serious about this issue – not only because CAPITAL LETTERS but multiple "zzzzz"s. That's serious stuff. I'm not making light of the topic, because I realize it's an area of concern for fans, but Bradley indeed has been asked about this – and his explanation has been pretty clear. Myles Jack isn't starting yet for a couple of reasons. One is because he's not a better option at this time than the two players ahead of him, Paul Posluszny (middle linebacker) and Telvin Smith (weak-side linebacker); those players know the defense and both played well against the Green Bay Packers for a defense that played pretty well overall. Another reason is that Jack is still learning the defense, and if you don't really know the defense you can be a liability even if you possess great athleticism. That's not a knock on Jack; linebacker is a difficult position to play in the NFL and it takes many rookies time to learn it. As far as Jack at strong safety, I have received many emails about this. I don't think it's a horrible idea in the long term to have Jack play some version of that position in some situations, but I'd be surprised if it happens in the short term. Jack already has learned two NFL positions in six weeks. It's a tough ask to assign him a third.
Leon from Austin, TX:
"We can step on the field and compete with any team." I like the mentality from the Jaguars organization. Zone, being around the players do you feel a different vibe than previous years?
John: Without question.
Jay from Gainesville, FL:
Jack seems like he would be better and more comfortable playing weak-side linebacker. That said, do you think Telvin could play inside linebacker? I think because we have a bunch of big bodies on the line he would be OK there even though he is not standard ILB size. But people thought he was small to play weak-side and his size hasn't stopped him! I think he can be the leader of a defense and he has a nose for the ball. What do you think?
John: I think while Smith is very good at the weak-side linebacker position, there are times his size makes things difficult for him there. He is fast enough to overcome the issue and be effective, but it doesn't mean it's not a concern. That concern would be far more glaring and far more difficult to overcome at inside linebacker.
Oliver from Aldershot, England:
I can't help but think if Allen Hurns made that last play for a touchdown everyone would be saying how it was the complete performance, and how we beat a real Super Bowl contender and deserved it. On another day, the play might have worked and we would be 1-0. Should we not take the positive and think we could genuinely be a 10-6 team this year after that performance?
John: Sure.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
A lot of people thought the temperature would favor the Jaguars on Sunday and give them more of a home-field advantage. Do you believe that the time difference will benefit the Chargers, with the Jags traveling from East to West Coast? And if so, how much of an effect do you think it could have on the game?
John: There's no question the time difference will benefit the Chargers. The difficulty of traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast is a real thing in the NFL. That's just how it is. How much of an effect it has on the game is up to the Jaguars. They have enough talent to beat the Chargers. I believe they should beat the Chargers. It's time to go beat the Chargers no matter the time zone.
Jeff from Orange Park, FL:
John, I don't think Denard Robinson is the answer as the replacement when T.J. Yeldon or Chris Ivory go down. What is the chance that we see Joe Banyard back in the mix? With Ivory's condition unknown and his return questionable, what options do we have going into the San Diego game?
John: This is a story that will play itself out based on Ivory's status this week. He was released from the hospital Tuesday and I expect we'll get a better idea on his status Sunday over the next day or two. I agree that a more every-down back is needed if Ivory is not available. That could either be Banyard or Jonas Gray. Both players make sense. We'll see what transpires.
John from San Diego, CA:
Jaguars pools=happiest place on earth.
John: They're sure up there.
Dave from Section 149:
Last year, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers lit up the Jags' defense at home. This year the Jags go on the road. How is this game going to be any different? Seems to me a lot of people have short memories of recent history. I have a lot of problems with Gus Bradley's statement of holding back the pass rush against Aaron Rodgers. Was that not the point of spending in free agency? Is that his plan again this week?
John: A few thoughts on your thoughts. First, the difference between last year's Jaguars defense and this year's defense is all the difference in the world because it's basically an entirely different unit – or very, very close to it. That doesn't mean the Jaguars will fare better, but it certainly means that recent history doesn't have to repeat itself Sunday. As for Bradley holding back the pass rush, I understand that it's tough to grasp at first, but the Jaguars aren't the only team to have employed this approach against Rodgers. The Minnesota Vikings utilized something similar against Rodgers and Green Bay with pretty good results last year. The idea was to take away Rodgers' strength – the ability to create big plays off of extended plays. Rodgers threw for less than 200 yards and the Jaguars had a chance to win on the last series of the game. The Jaguars didn't win, so the approach didn't work, but I've seen more disastrous game plans. As far as Bradley's plan this week, hold on while I go ask him. I'm sure detailing it here on would help the Jaguars' cause.
Mark from Maryland:
After October 2 we only have four home games left in EverBank ... bummer.
John: If that was correct, that would be a bummer. It is incorrect, so it is slightly less bumming.
Will from Orlando, FL:
Is the "Win Now" too much pressure for this team? This team is loaded with talent, but is the elephant in the room (Gus Bradley's job) too much of a distraction to let this team play free without that kind of pressure.
John: The players on this team expect to win now because they believe they are good enough to win now. That has nothing to do with Bradley's job security, which incidentally I haven't sensed as being an issue or distraction whatsoever.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Would it be overreacting to think the Jaguars are a pass rush and run offense away from being Super Bowl contenders? To me, the Jaguars appear close to being one of the top teams in the American Football Conference.
John: If you're asking, "Would the Jaguars be Super Bowl contenders if they were a balanced team with no weaknesses that did everything well?" … then yeah, they probably would be Super Bowl contenders if they had a big-time pass rush and big-time running game. I think that's true of a good percentage of the NFL.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
Fire the offensive coordinator- are these people for real? Can we send Tink to straighten out these guys?
John: This might be the best idea I've heard in months.
Jaginator from Jacksonville :
Look-ahead Wednesday isn't going to make me feel any better this week. The Jags play horribly on long road trips (and yes, I know that many teams struggle with long road trips - but the Jags are strikingly bad). And Philip Rivers' idea of paradise is a 16-game schedule that consists of no opponents other than Jacksonville. If we can't find a way to put some pressure on him it will be a loooong day. (And I don't mean simply lining up the same guys in the same formations with the same assignments and hoping for better results.)
John: You're talking about things that have bothered past Jaguars teams. It's time for those things to stop bothering this Jaguars team.

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